A new teacher quickly discovers that they learn more from one week of classroom experience than four years of formal education. In fact, the real learning begins the moment the classroom door closes and you are faced with a class of students who are looking to you for the answers. Well, the same is true in life: the moment your formal education ends, your life's education begins. Learn along with me....
Friday, May 04, 2007
On Wednesday, April 11, 2007, my Nonnie died.
Even writing those words hurts....
I told my Mom, and then my sister, that the world doesn't feel the same.
It still doesn't feel the same.
Even though she was ill for quite awhile, she was still here. With us.
It's funny how life goes on--even though the world doesn't feel the same, you wake up every morning and shower and dress and go to work and cook dinner and do laundry and do all the things a person has to do in the course of an ordinary life. And then something small will happen, you'll be shopping at TJMaxx and automatically turn to the 2X section to look for something for Nonnie, and then it hits you again. Or you'll be cooking dinner one night, and pull out a pepper and remember that even after she had her first stroke, when she couldn't stand or move very well, she would make you stuffed pepper after stuffed pepper because it was one of the few things she still could do for you, and she didn't know how to not care for the people she loved most.
When she had her first stroke a few years ago, I started praying. Selfish prayers, which is not typical for me. I prayed every Sunday, and often during the week, that Nonnie would live to see me get married. Self- centered, I know, but it was what I wanted in the bottom of my heart.
And she made it.
Not only did she make it, but she walked down the aisle, and stood on the dance floor during our anniversary dance. For me. Because I asked her to. Because she loved me that much.
And for that I am forever grateful.
I remember, as she started to weaken, and as dementia took more and more of her mind, crying because I didn't want that Nonnie to be the one that stayed in my memory. Selfish again, I know. I've learned a lot since those tears. One thing I learned is that even though her body was frail and failing, her mind, her personality, was as sharp, and as Nonnie-like, as ever. I also learned that even though Nonnie in her last days is a part of my memory, what is an even stronger part of my memory is MY Nonnie. The one who made me bread and tomatoes when I was younger, who had a garden that stretched for miles, who always sent me away with my car laden with food. The Nonnie who had a basement that seemed almost magical in the foods that it could produce. The one who apologized to me every Christmas and birthday because she couldn't give me more. The Nonnie who, as I got older, lectured me on how to live as a good wife and a better daughter and sister. The Nonnie that made special Easter bread baskets with the egg magically baked in the middle. The Nonnie that loved me until the end.
And even now, as I type this with tears streaming down my face, I am also smiling....because I truly am blessed to have a Nonnie.